Posts Tagged ‘Slow Clinic’

Trial n Error Productions – Nanye, An Early Haunting, Chrono and Slow Clinic – live at the Star Inn, Guildford, 2nd Spetember 2018

September 6, 2018

I’m too honest for my own good.

If I was normal (by abysmal modern standards of music criticism / journalism) I would give this gig 10/10, five star, A+++++, better than finding out that you’ve won a quadruple-rollover Euromillions whilst getting a hand-job off… you know what, I’ll leave it there.

I’m not normal, I try to make this blog as honest as I can.  This becomes hard when part of the reason I write is to trying to encourage connections and attendance at gigs; when I meet and like people and don’t want to slag their music off as a result; when I’m helping out the promoter a bit – he might even claim I co-promoted, which is utter bullshit.  Stefan Powell, aka The Sleepwalker, booked the bands and the venue and did pretty much everything else from what I can see, but I did try to give him a bit of a hand because I MASSIVELY BELIEVE IN WHAT HE IS DOING [see note 1].  And another thing makes it hard – on the one hand I’m judging bands for what they are – young and / or local – on the other hand I want to see originality and quality that matches up to my favourite music of all time, which is a pretty high bar to set.

Anyway, now I’ve got that out of the way I can get on with being honest – shit the lot of them.  Absolute toilet, especially  the acts featuring at least one guitar.

Not really.

First not on was Cyberwaste – illness preventing Ashlinn Nash from providing electronic interludes… hopefully she will be back with TNE soon.

James Armstrong’s Slow Clinic persona is taking a live break which is a massive shame.  Drones, swells, effects-laden ambient-guitar heaven… I think this was the third time I’ve seen him now and every time I’ve enjoyed it more than the last.  I think the reason for this is that when I first hear music like this – simple in many respects, sound-based and not relying on high levels of musicianship [Note 2] – I fear that I will buy into something that is ultimately relatively worthless.  I love a lot of very simple music, and do not believe that technical ability (or the amount on display ) and quality of output is corrollated, but I do fear that my ability to tell “simple, genius” from “simple, nothing special” is poor.

Stunning, mesmerising, beautiful… swells and drones, occasional more traditional guitar playing which has it’s power multiplied by its rarity… if I were to doubt my judgement I’d only have to look at the faces of some of the musicians in the audience and the rapturous round of applause at the end of the set to know for sure that I was wrong to.

I’m on even more dodgy territory trying to review Chrono and An Early Haunting.  Both bands play music which I’m open to, and supportive of because of its attempts to put the more traditional rock tropes behind it, but neither fit neatly into genres that I love or know huge amounts about.

Chrono – a part-time Freakout on a guitar, another guitar, James Armstrong (again) on bass, drums.  No vocals.  Some sort of post-rock-y, math-y thing, which veered a little into more classic rock territory at times.  At their best they got noisier and veered towards a Mars Volta sound/style, but then listening to the minute of studio recording “Debut” online leads me to think they could be as good if they pursued a pretty-much ambient route much closer to Armstrong’s Slow Clinic.  Their set seemed to fly by, which is undoubtedly a testament to them doing something right.  Looking forward to seeing how they develop, the selfish side of me hopes that when I next see them they’ve pushed the more aggressive and chilled sides of their sound, and reduced the amount of middle-ground.  One to watch.

An Early Haunting rise from the ashes of Lost You To The Cities, claiming – entirely fairly – that the direction they’re moving is towards more of a soundtrack / film-score vibe.  Lack of drums probably helps that… not sure if / when they’ll get a drummer, but I’m tempted to suggest they stick to eternal drummerlessness to emphasize that they’re not trying to compete with a typical rock or post-rock outfit.

Two guitars, bass, and two multi-instrumentalists with cello, violin and keys (and occasional guitar) is a pretty good approximation of the line-up… I’m a sucker for bands who swap instruments going back to seeing the mighty Sebadoh at the Old Trout in Windsor.  Kinda washes over you, booze and four days don’t help, not really sure what to say apart from it’s chilled and glides by kinda like soundtrack music tends to do… kinda like they might be acheiving what they set out to do… will definitely be keeping an eye on how they progress.

Nanye.  I don’t have any booze and four days excuse with Nanye, despite them going on a few minutes later… I distinctly remember not having a clue what I was witnessing when it happened so time really does make fuck all difference writing now.  First track – Circles – some kind of warped electronic pop with Ella Joy taking a lead on vocals – then the rest of the set was some sort of live drum n bass / jazz / dance / noise / folk freakout (word being used more because I’ve been reading about freaks / freeks in Guitar Army about the MC5, rather than grunge-punk-firestorm freakouts).  Lots of kneeling by pedals, I approve.  Seriously good.  Like seriously good. I like mad shit, and this is it.

Next one Kayla Painter Wednesday October 17th.

https://www.facebook.com/events/2153225741666498/

Note 1 – What he is doing is putting on bands which tend to veer towards the more experimental and electronic ends of the alternative music universe.  Tonight he succeeded, again.

Note 2 – Dear Mr Armstrong, please accept my apologies for any failure on my part to recognise those aspects of your set which are musically tricky to pull off.  I wouldn’t know musicianship if it slapped me in the face with a canoe.  Yours, Wild Eye.

Note 3 – Glenn Christian’s magic box does deserve a mention –

https://www.studiospares.com/Studio-Gear/Signal-Interfaces/Studiospares-RED508-ABY-Signal-Routing-Box_465770.htm

Some links

https://www.facebook.com/anearlyhaunting/

https://www.facebook.com/chronouk/

https://www.facebook.com/Cyberwastemusic/

https://www.facebook.com/nanyemusic/

https://www.facebook.com/slowclinic/

https://www.facebook.com/Trial-N-Error-Productions-1511711255801880/

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Wild Eye Gig Guide – 2nd September 2018

September 2, 2018

I used to try to do a gig guide every month, but it’s a fair bit of work.  I’m going to go down a different route from now on… much shorter, more often… hey ho, let’s go…

Nányë / Chrono / An Early Haunting / Slow Clinic / Cyberwaste at the Star Inn, Guildford on Sunday 2nd September.  Stefan from Trial n Error is putting it on, I’m giving him a bit of a hand.  Post rock, experimental electronica with guitars and female vox, and guitar based ambient.  Will be a good night.

https://www.facebook.com/events/312981605917690/

https://www.facebook.com/Trial-N-Error-Productions-1511711255801880/

A gig in aid of Amnesty at the Star Inn, Guildford on Thursday 6th September.  Details here –

https://www.facebook.com/events/1692376054211000/

Yung Druid, Morag Tong, Dead Lettuce & Trevor’s Head at the Bird’s Nest, London, Friday 7th September.

https://www.facebook.com/events/291913754899351/

Typical Hunks, Blimp and Head Drop at After Dark Club, Reading, Friday 7th September.

https://www.facebook.com/events/1329686100500217/

Between The Void, Hand of Doom, Orbital Junction and Season Of The Witch at the Swamp at the Facebar, Reading, Friday 7th September.

https://www.facebook.com/events/2084855291788064/

The Wedding Present at the West End Centre, Aldershot Friday 7th September.

https://www.facebook.com/events/433621750461920/

Tacado / Serpent Tax / Swords of Thought / Shockpowder at the Stag’s Head, London Sunday 9th September.

For more check out the Wild Eye facebook events page –

https://www.facebook.com/pg/Wild-Eye-Music-1549578378681220/events/

And –

https://www.facebook.com/GuildfordAldershotFarnhamGigs/

https://www.facebook.com/westendcentre/

https://www.facebook.com/jasta11gigs/

Slow Clinic – Find Meaning In All Of This ep review

August 30, 2018

Before I start – check the ep – and come see Slow Clinic on Sunday 2nd September at the Star Inn, Guildford. Links at the bottom.

I find it really hard to review music like this.  Or like anything, to be fair.  On the one hand there’s little ambient drone that I would go out of my way to listen to – on the other it can be so beautiful and inspiring.  How easy is it to tell one from the other?  Are preconceptions affecting the reaction more than the music itself.  [Aside – Andertons TV – and other youtube channel’s – blind testing of gear is always a good watch].

By “go out of my way to listen to” I mean a piece of music or particular artist in particular.  As someone who listens to a pretty wide variety of genres I can’t say I know enough about any particular one – not least ambient drone – to nail my colours to the mast and say “x band and y solo artist are truly special in the field”.

What I can say, with no fear of contradiction, is that James Armstrong – the man behind Slow Clinic – puts on a beautiful live show.  That this ep is seriously chilled and, fuck it, “beautiful” is the best word for the third time so far in this brief review.  And whilst my musical dreams and schemes are in many ways the complete opposite of Slow Clinic, they share some similarities and it’s so inspiring to be reminded how so little can be so much, how everything is nothing, and nothing is everything.  Anyone can feel the power of being creative if they put some effort in; everyone can make music, should make music… which is not to say that all simple music is equal or that artists like Slow Clinic haven’t got something which sets them apart.  It is very VERY easy to make simple music that is close to being wonderful, but ultimately in worthless, talentless nonsense.

The third track is considerably less ambient, with subtle and gently jarring plucking set against the pure ambience of the piece (and indeed the pure ambience of the ep as a whole).

Perhaps the most interesting thing about it is this, taken from the bandcamp page –

“‘Find Meaning In All Of This’ is the first in a series of self-released EPs that serve the purpose of documenting various music making practices. This EP was recorded with the intention of leaving all elements of noise within the signal chain intact as a response to learned habits of removing unwanted sound artefacts during mixing and mastering stages. ‘Find Meaning In All Of This’ is raw and vulnerable, embracing noise as an integral part of the overall soundscape.

The EP includes a short essay on the use of noise as part of performance and recording practice as a PDF download and printed text inside of physical copies.”

(1)  I did notice noise on the ep; (2) I’m not sure whether I would have particularly noticed it – or considered that it might have been deliberately left in as a response to learnt habits as opposed to left in because noise can be good; (3) Noise can be good.  To a large extent I believe in the Steve Albini idea that you record as well as possible and mess with the recording as little as possible (which is not to say that noise should neveer be removed or that Albini never removes noise from recordings); (4) Artists should challenge themselves, not least because it’s often the things you hate most (noise that somehow finds it’s way onto a recording when you want the sound as hi-fi as possible might be a great example) that turn out to be things that you love when you overcome your preconceptions; and (5) I’m looking forward to reading the essay.  Music is always about more than the music, good to see someone who understands this.

Go check out the ep here –

https://slowclinic.bandcamp.com/album/find-meaning-in-all-of-this

Then buy it from the same place –

https://slowclinic.bandcamp.com/album/find-meaning-in-all-of-this

And go see Slow Clinic here –

Slow Clinic and more, Star Inn Guildford, Sunday 2nd September 2018

And finally check out his Rusted Tone Recordings label here –

https://rustedtonerecordings.bandcamp.com/

 

 

 

Trial n Error – Star Inn – Sunday 2nd September 2018

August 19, 2018

GET YOUR ARSE TO THIS GIG

I get sick of EEJUTS who claim to be independent whilst not being independent.  For example bloggers who claim to be independent whilst giving a FUCKING FANTASTIC review of a band they manage or of a gig at a venue where they do PR.

Arsewipes the lot of them.

I do not claim to be independent, whilst simultaneously trying to act as though I am… pretty much.  I’d like to think I can justify every word in this post, but this is me at my least independent.

Stefan Powell is the man behind Trial n Error, mainly.  He does his Sleepwalker thing, which is cool, and he puts on some of the more eclectic and experimental gigs around, which is FUCKING GREAT THING.

In two weeks we’re gonna get to enjoy –

Cyberwaste providing electronic interludes between the sets.  Slow Clinic‘s ambient drone solo guitar beauty, Nanye‘s stunning female vocals and electronic meets guitar experimentation, and An Early Haunting‘s and Chrono‘s intrumental post-rock.

It is a legal obligation to come to this (bargain at only £3 OTD) gig if –

(1)  You like any of the bands.
(2)  You want to support live music in Surrey and surrounding areas.
(3)  You want to support experimental music.
(4)  You go to ACM and wanna support some of your fellow students.
(5)  You think Stefan is a legend for putting on stuff like this.
(6)  You’re reading this.
(7)  You want to support the Star.
(8)  You like drinking on a Sunday night and don’t want to support that borderline-fascist-stupid-selfish-moron who owns Weatherspoons (spit).
(9)  You like guitars played with bows.
(10)  You have ideas for a solo experimental guitar live project and want further inspiration.
(11)  You like big bushy beards.
(12)  You want to know if Roman Banwell is gonna show up in a dress and look DEAD HOT (AGAIN)

Support your scene.

www.nanye.co.uk
https://soundcloud.com/an_early_haunting
https://www.facebook.com/slowclinic/
https://www.facebook.com/chronouk/
https://www.facebook.com/Cyberwastemusic/

Legally commit to your attendance in blood here –

https://www.facebook.com/events/312981605917690/

 

Trial n Error Electronic / Experimental Music Night – Star Inn – Guildford – 10th June 2018

June 24, 2018

WHAT A NIGHT.  Seriously, really, really enjoyed it, start to finish – and the unexpected presence of an old friend from Aldershot didn’t go amiss either.  I suppose I’d better go through the acts in the order they played – please feel free to correct me if my assessment of the way the music was played or what genre it fits into is utter rubbish.

Up first Ple Rexics.  Backs to the audience is often criticised as a performance stance, but to be fair that was the only way any of us would have had a clue what was being done to a bank of modular synths.  Bleepy, experimental… definitely plenty in common with some of the techno and ambient I used to listen to, but this was more experimental, much less dance orientate.  If music was solely about sound Ple Rexics were the best act of the night… as it was it was spell-binding, beautiful, chilled… really looking forward to checking  out more of his stuff online.

https://www.facebook.com/PleRexics/
https://plerexics.bandcamp.com/

Path’s iPad-only set was great… seemed to be more of an easy-listening vibe to a couple of the tracks than I remember and the best track from last time I saw him wasn’t played.  Quality electronica.  Nice.

I loved ian:o‘s set… I’d struggle to place this precisely, but ambient techno might cover some of it even if chilled electronica might be what some would say.  Quite laid back, but emminently danceable.  More modern sounding and more to my taste than I was expecting, to be honest.   Early evening main room, any time in the chill-out room, art gallery, whatever.

https://www.facebook.com/ianoMusicElectronic/

He even re-improvised the set again post-event and stuck it on soundcloud –

James Armstrong’s Slow Clinic project is beatiful and fascinates me.  From what I might have read and / or think I’ve worked out it’s mainly gentle guitar – string and bow vibrating the strings more than fingers or pick pluck or strum – heavily effected with delay and reverb and volume swells, and looped.  It’s all tone and texture, beauty and a certain melancholy.  Really not my thing from a “what kind of music are you looking to add to your life, Wild Eye?” point of view, it’s sheer beauty and hypnotic quality – no that’s the wrong word, it’s more entrancing than hypnotic – sucks me in.

https://www.facebook.com/slowclinic/

I felt a bit sorry for Cyberwaste… I presume that most of the time her visuals work better from a technical point of view… and whilst it’s ALL about the music it’s never all about the musicSomething about it makes me think of the 1980s, but maybe a producer from the 80s given a glimpse into the electronica of the future and left in their own era to try to recreate what is still to come.  If what I am trying to say makes sense to anyone I will be surprised; if it goes a step further and you agree with me then I guess my dropped jaw will crack as it hits the floor.

Up there with Ian:O as the most likely act of the night to have wide appeal, another act with a real sense of melancholy.

https://www.facebook.com/Cyberwastemusic/
https://soundcloud.com/cyberwastemusic

ESP.  I’ll start this last bit of the review by talking about one of my favourite subjects.  Me.  I write this blog for a variety of reasons, but the top 3 are probably (in no particular order) –

(1)  I like thinking about music, understanding it and refining my views on it.  Putting things into words helps that.

(2)  I want to encourage music – especially live and local to me – partly for altruistic reasons, partly for selfish reasons – saves travelling to London to see a good gig.

(3)  I hope that some of what I write can inspire musicians to being better, whether by opening their eyes to music they’ve never come across before, or by encouraging them to see things in different ways, challenging their established mindset.

What I don’t do it for is because I absolutely love writing, find it easy and believe that my writing is of a particularly high standard.  I find it very hard to write about most bands I see, especially – and this is pretty common – when I don’t fully get precisely where they are coming from, really like what they do, but don’t love what they do.

At least 3 or 4 more paragraphs to this part of the review than any of the other acts, and I have said not a word about ESP.  I’d better change that.

ESP make the kind of shit I find it relatively easy to write about.  Why?  Cos I fucking love them!  Their soundcloud page says –

“ESP has made it our mission to bring you Fashion Funk and put a little dance into your lives, having spent 3 years distilling Fashion Funk down to its core elements with influences coming from musical inspirations such as Daft Punk, Yasutaka Nakata, Gorilaz and Touch Sensitive and blending it with aesthetic principles such as Harajuku street fashion and Vapourwave these then combined with our own childhood memories of mid to late 90s and early 00s pop culture lead us down the path to creating what you hear today. Seeking to bring you all a fresh lifestyle filled with fun, dancing and colours its time to stop worrying about everything and get a little crazy.”

My late teens and early 20s were spent listening to techno, trance, tech-house and electro.  I can definitely see that their sound relates back to that.  I love the acid, the mad acid.  I love all sorts, but for me music – and this is times ten for electronic music – is ultimately about moving dat ass.  Hooks, riffs, melodies yes, but most of the best music has a beat that gets the foot tapping at the very least.

ESP know all this… they are all about creating fucked-up party music.  I actually miss-typed that as fucked-up arty music the first time, or was it a miss-type?  I think that they are actually the missing link between high art and music solely to get the asses-wigglin’.

Seriously funky, plenty about the sound owes itself – as they say themselves – the likes of Daft Punk, an act who have managed to be pretty cutting edge whilst also having massive pop appeal.  I have literally no idea just how fucked up they’re trying to be but I can almost see them appealing to a mainstream club audience, whilst having weird, bedroom-dwelling, techno-obsessed freaks digging their shit too.

A guy who Kryds did some guitaring, a girl did a bit of singing, trackies got sweaty, furiously funky fucked-up shit went down.  I literally cannot see how anyone could not love ’em.  FUCKING SUPERB. 

https://www.facebook.com/TheESPsociety/

 

 

A quick round-up…

April 27, 2018

Or maybe not quick.  So much going on –

(1)  Leafy Incline, as well as the bands This Is Wreckage, Princess, Slug 13, Tirana, Swords of Thought and Second In Line, bring grunge / punk / noise rock etc to the Star on Sunday 29th April from 5pm.

https://www.facebook.com/events/295928310907206/

(2)  Freakouts play the Boileroom tonight for the lauch show for their new ep, TV –

https://open.spotify.com/album/1oR21h49ZZpT9KP1P9jLid?si=10ujiTYzQgqI2j8dnIrI-g

Pussyliquor are on the bill.

(3)  James Ward and Ian Oakley’s void_null audio visual project is coming to the West End Centre on June 7th –

http://www.voidnull.tv/

https://www.facebook.com/events/2046328038919119/

(4)  Moper are lined up to play Westival in July at the West End Centre.  In related news their bassist Benjamin Wainhouse has been looking dead cute in old photos of himself popping up on his facebook timeline in recent days.

(5)  Essex based I think, if you play in a band and are just starting out then I challenge you to produce a better video than this.  Good fucking luck, you’ll need it.  And the song itself has a real energy too, love it.  And they’re playing the Fighting Cocks on 1st June.  Midwich Cuckoos for the rock metal punk crew –

(6)  Trevor’s Head have released Soma Holiday –

https://trevorshead.bandcamp.com/album/soma-holiday

(7)  I’ve discovered there’s an ambient label coming out of Farnham – Rusted Tone Recordings.  The work of James Armstrong, the guy behind Slow Clinic

https://www.facebook.com/rustedtonerecordings/

(8)  Silent Mode are recording more desert rock.

(9)  Skaciety – Ska Punk at the Star tonight courtesy of Jasta 11.

(10)  This video has appeared online – Tuskar playing “The Tide” live at the Black Heart.  SO FUCKING GOOD.

(11)  Brightlight City, I, The Lion and Daryl Vorderman play the Star on 3rd May thanks to Rose Coloured

https://www.facebook.com/events/153807911953966/

(12)  Annabel Allum just keeps getting press, attention, gigs – check Rascal here –

http://clashmusic.com/videos/premiere-annabel-allum-rascal

(14) Swords of Thought released “Confusion Leads” –

https://swordsofthought.bandcamp.com/album/confusion-leads

And it comes with a video –

That’s it for now!